A solar-minded farmer, a founding partner in a Little Rock sustainability and energy services company and a distinguished professor at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville are all in the running for a top state award in advanced energy leadership, according to the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association.
The three are among finalists announced in advance of the trade group’s Empowering Arkansas gathering Tuesday at Heifer International’s headquarters in Little Rock.
Tillar & Co. farmer and farm manager A.J. Hood is up for the Ron Bell Advanced Energy Leadership Award, along with Alan Mantooth, the UA professor in electric engineering, and Chris Ladner, who helped to found Entegrity, the Little Rock contractor with 80 employees and eight offices across the United States.
Hood’s farm in Tillar, east of Monticello, dries its rice with electric fans, so he had solar panels installed on his farm. His two-acre solar installation provides 100 percent of the power for his grain storage facility, and advanced energy proponents point to his project as a forerunner to a potential wave of agricultural solar installations in Arkansas.
Mantooth, who earned his Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology, is known for helping to found the National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission at UA in 2005. He holds patents on software architecture and algorithms for modeling tools, and he has written three published books.
Ladner’s Entegrity has completed efficiency and sustainability projects in 30 states and the Cayman Islands.
Along with the Bell Award, the AAEA will also be presenting the Rising Star Award, which recognizes emerging forces in the industry, and the Business Innovation Award, which goes to an AAEA membery company for courage, savvy and innovation in expanding the market.
Finalists for the Rising Star honor are Josh Davenport, co-founder and CEO of Seal Energy Solutions in North Little Rock; Jennah Denney, marketing and public relations manager for Today’s Power Inc., a Little Rock builder of solar arrays for electric cooperatives and other commercial enterprises; Nick Gorden, CEO of Shine Solar of Bentonville, a leading northwest Arkansas solar project installer; Parker Higgs, director of energy engineering for Entegrity; and Alex Ray, business development executive for Johnson Controls in Little Rock, a global diversified sustainability technology company.
Finalists for the Business Innovation Award are Johnson Controls; Seal Solutions, Today’s Power; Shine Solar; ACE Glass Manufacturing Inc. of Little Rock, which is running its new headquarters near the airport with solar power; Ozark Integrated Circuits of Fayetteville, which offers design techniques, modeling and design tools for integrated circuits and chips built for extreme environments; and Solar & Renewable Power Systems, a division of Paradoxe Corp. of Jackson, Tennessee.